The NHS is calling upon teenagers throughout the country to be part of the fight against meningitis by joining the TEAM (Teenagers Against Meningitis) research study.
Recognised as potentially one the most important studies of its type, researchers from the Oxford Vaccine Group based at the University of Oxford are seeking to recruit 24,000, 16 to 18 year olds from across 14 towns and cities across the UK in a bid to see if vaccinating teenagers against MenB could reduce the risk of meningitis to the wider population.
With one in four teenagers carrying the meningococcal bacteria, compared to one in ten amongst the wider community, they could play a critical role in the battle to beat this often life threatening disease.
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the study will see 24,000 participants divided into three groups of 8,000, with two groups receiving the MenB vaccine, and the third acting as a control group and not being given the vaccine. The control group will however receive the vaccine after the completion of the study, so they too can benefit from the protection it provides.
Dr Matthew Snape, from the Oxford Vaccine Group said: “The bacteria usually live harmlessly in the back of the throat, but occasionally can be transferred through close contact and cause meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning)."
“This is a really exciting and important study and a great opportunity for teenagers to ‘Be on the TEAM’ and take part in this important study. Participants will not only get a vaccine that reduces their risk of meningitis, but also help us understand how we can best protect the whole community against this terrible disease.”
The study will be recruiting over 18 months from April 2018, and is completely voluntary with students able to give their own consent. Each of the 14 centres will be talking with local schools to recruit teenage volunteers.
Dr Tom Nutt, Chief Executive of charity Meningitis Now, said: “Meningitis is a devastating disease that can strike anyone at any time and leave havoc in its wake. Many young people will know of someone from their community whose life, and that of their family and friends, has been torn apart by its impact. This important study is a chance for young people to make a real difference to not only their own health but that of their wider community.”
“We’re delighted to see this vaccine trial being rolled out and would urge everyone who can to get involved and help make a real difference in the fight against meningitis.”
The study will be taking place at the below centres by April (unless otherwise stated):
- Bristol (Bristol Children’s Vaccine Centre)
- Glasgow (NHS National Services Scotland) – Autumn 2018
- London – Imperial (Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust) – Autumn 2018
- London – St George’s (St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust )
- Manchester (Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust)
- Nottingham (University of Nottingham Health Service)
- Oxford (Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford)
- Preston (Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust) – Autumn 2018
- Southampton (University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust)
- Stockport (Stockport NHS Foundation Trust)
- Brighton & Sussex (Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust)
- Cardiff (Cardiff, Public Health Wales)
- Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells (Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust)
- Wigan (Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust)
Meningitis Now Young Ambassador Jacob knows all about the importance of this study first hand, read Jacob's story.
Find out more about Team Against Meningitis.